Buckfire Law Files Mass Steam Burn Lawsuit Against Detroit Thermal, LLC

DETROIT — Attorneys from Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., a Michigan-based personal injury law firm, announced today they have filed a mass lawsuit on behalf of 20 victims, each of whom suffered burns to their legs and feet from steam emitting from manhole covers in Detroit, Mich.

The lawsuit names Detroit Thermal, LLC, Detroit Renewable Energy, LLC and Project Mist HoldCo, LLC as defendants.

Detroit Thermal serves commercial and industrial customers in downtown Detroit and provides heating and cooling to more than 100 buildings throughout the greater downtown Detroit area through an underground network.

Project Mist HoldCo, a New York-based company, purchased Detroit Renewable Energy, the parent company of Detroit Thermal, in November 2017. The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) regulates Detroit Thermal.

The complaint states that the plaintiffs suffered burn injuries as a result of the steam rising from manhole covers.

According to the complaint, the defendants negligently failed to control the steam that was emitted from boiling hot steam pipes beneath the street and failed to warn pedestrians and others about the dangerous conditions that ultimately led to victims sustaining burns to their feet, ankles and legs .

“The arguments in our clients’ case are clear: these injuries were preventable,” said trial attorney Nicolas A. Vesprini of Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. “It is now our goal with this lawsuit to instigate operational changes so that pedestrians can safely walk the streets and sidewalks without suffering burn injuries in Detroit.”

The lawsuit states several victims suffered multiple steam burn injuries from manhole covers located near Cobo Hall, Ford Field, and Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich.

“We believe the defendants were culpable in contributing to the 20 victims who sustained burn injuries,” said Vesprini. “We’re seeking to prevent injuries like this in the future.”

About Steam Burn Injury Attorney Nicolas Vesprini

Nicolas A. Vesprini earned his Juris Doctor degree in 2003 from the University of Detroit – Mercy School of Law where he served as the Executive Director of Moot Court Board, represented the law school in national moot court competition, and was an active member of the Student Bar Association Board of Governors, and a Book Award recipient.

Prior to joining Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., Vesprini served as a partner at a preeminent insurance defense law firm with a focus on defense litigation in catastrophic first-party automobile claims, third-party auto negligence, personal injury, premises liability and general negligence.

Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C.: Michigan Personal Injury Law Firm

Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. is a top-rated Michigan personal injury and accident law firm. Founded in 1969, Buckfire Law has earned the highest possible ratings in the legal profession for skill and integrity.

The Southfield, Michigan-based law firm takes great pride in providing the best possible legal representation to the people who need them the most.

City of Detroit Steam Burn and Manhole Locations

The interactive map below identifies the locations of nearly 40 steam burns in downtown Detroit. Steam released from Detroit Thermal-owned underground pipes burned the legs, feet and ankles of countless pedestrians. The burn victims identified on the map are from Wayne, Washtenaw, Macomb, Oakland, Saginaw and more counties across Michigan, along with several counties in Ohio. Injuries range from feet burns to burns that also affect legs and ankles. Each pin provides details of the steam burn incident, including the location of the manhole, age and gender of the victim, as well as photos of his/her injuries.